Month: December 2020

On the brink of a mental health revolution

first_imgBBC:One in four of us will suffer some form of mental illness during our lifetimes.Historically, many of these conditions have been beyond our understanding, but now scientists believe we are on the verge of a revolution in how mental health problems are approached.Professor Tom Insel, director of the $1.5bn National Institute of Mental Health in the United States, told Newsnight there is a profound change taking place, and science and technology is key to that change:“We are really facing a tipping point here with research in mental illness. We have gone through a revolution in how we can look at the brain.We can begin to understand which circuits are involved, and how the brain is wired. We have never had a full wiring diagram of the human brain. We are getting that now.”Read the full story: BBC More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Easily Pronounced Names May Make People More Likable

first_imgWired: Though it might seem impossible, and certainly inadvisable, to judge a person by their name, a new study suggests our brains try anyway.The more pronounceable a person’s name is, the more likely people are to favor them.“When we can process a piece of information more easily, when it’s easier to comprehend, we come to like it more,” said psychologist Adam Alter of New York University and co-author of a Journal of Experimental Social Psychology study published in December. Fluency, the idea that the brain favors information that’s easy to use, dates back to the 1960s, when researchers found that people most liked images of Chinese characters if they’d seen them many times before.Read the whole story: Wired More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Brainstorming: An idea past its prime

first_imgThe Washington Post: Our lives are cluttered with unnecessary traditions, ideas and institutions. Warm weather came early this year, but there’s still time for a good spring cleaning. After purging old receipts, broken appliances and unloved outfits, what else should we toss? Outlook asked 10 writers what they thought we’d be better off without. From the Cabinet to premium gas to chick flicks, here are their picks.Brainstorming is probably the most widely used creativity technique in the world, employed in design firms and science labs, movie studios and classrooms. First proposed by the advertising executive Alex Osborn — the Don Draper of his day — brainstorming is typically described as an ideal template for collaboration, the best way to generate new ideas in a group.The technique is easy to summarize, since it’s premised on a single assumption: Criticism is bad for the imagination. This is why the very first rule of brainstorming is the prohibition of negative feedback. “Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom, while discouragement often nips it in the bud,” Osborn wrote. “In order to increase our imaginative potential, we should focus only on quantity. Quality will come later.”Read the whole story: The Washington Post More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

The Brain Trainers

first_imgThe New York Times: In the back room of a suburban storefront previously occupied by a yoga studio, Nick Vecchiarello, a 16-year-old from Glen Ridge, N.J., sits at a desk across from Kathryn Duch, a recent college graduate who wears a black shirt emblazoned with the words “Brain Trainer.” Spread out on the desk are a dozen playing cards showing symbols of varying colors, shapes and sizes. Nick stares down, searching for three cards whose symbols match.“Do you see it?” Ms. Duch asks encouragingly.“Oh, man,” mutters Nick, his eyes shifting among the cards, looking for patterns.Across the room, Nathan Veloric, 23, studies a list of numbers, looking for any two in a row that add up to nine. With tight-lipped determination, he scrawls a circle around one pair as his trainer holds a stopwatch to time him. Halfway through the 50 seconds allotted to complete the exercise, a ruckus comes from the center of the room.“Nathan’s here!” shouts Vanessa Maia, another trainer. Approaching him with a teasing grin, she claps her hands like an annoying little sister. “Distraction!” she shouts. “Distraction!”Read the whole story: The New York Times More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

The price of sadness

first_imgThe Boston Globe: Just as you wouldn’t let a friend drive drunk, you might not want to let a friend make financial decisions while sad. In several experiments, people who were put in a sad mood—by watching a sad video and writing about a sad experience—sought more immediate gratification, preferring smaller, immediate rewards over larger, delayed rewards.Read the whole story: The Boston Globe More of our Members in the Media >last_img

Quelling the Quarter Life Crisis With Psychology and Economics

first_imgThe Huffington Post: Many young adults today find themselves facing a crisis of direction in their lives and identify this experience as a ‘quarter life crisis.’ Critics however suggest that this is nothing more than common life angst, heighted by the echo chambers of a hyper-connected culture. Regardless of the debate around the breadth and depth of the so-called “quarter life crisis,” there are clear indicators that point not only to a definitive phenomena of anxiety experienced by young adults over their personal and career life trajectories but also data that suggests that this experience is increasingly common.Psychologist Martin Seligman and his colleagues observe a paradoxical rise in depression in our country over the last 50 years despite the increasing per capita income, education, longevity and general ease of life. David Myers, also a psychologist, notes that between the 1960s and 1990s, measures of societal health decline (divorce rates, suicide rates, violent crime rates) have all increased by at least two times. And the sociologist Robert Putnam points out that for younger generations of Americans since the mid-20th century, a worsening trend is occurring in terms of “headaches, indigestion, sleeplessness, as well as general satisfaction with life.”Read the whole story: The Huffington Post More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

“Consult Your Physician Immediately If …”

first_imgThe Huffington Post: It’s difficult to turn on the TV today without seeing an advertisement for one drug or another. That’s not surprising, since drug makers spend billions of dollars each year to promote their treatments for depression, low testosterone, osteoporosis, incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and more. The ad spots are aimed not at physicians but at patients themselves.These ads are required to list the most serious side effects for the prescription drugs they promote, and some are indeed serious — nausea and bleeding and blindness and suicidal thoughts, even death. The warnings are so dire that they must scare some consumers away, yet drug marketers continue to flood the airways.Is that a good marketing strategy? Do consumers take these warnings seriously, and do these frightening catalogs of symptoms change their attitudes toward the drugs? Psychological scientist Ziv Carmon, of INSEAD in Singapore, has been studying the way TV viewers process product warnings — not just for drugs but for cigarettes and artificial sweeteners as well. Working with Yael Steinhart of Tel Aviv University and Yaacov Trope at NYU, Carmon has been exploring how warnings stack up against the seductive benefits that marketers hope for.Read the whole story: The Huffington PostWray Herbert is an author and award-winning journalist who writes two popular blogs for APS, We’re Only Human and Full Frontal Psychology. More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Teenagers Are Wired for Peer Approval, Study Says

first_imgEducation Week: It’s true: Adolescents really do want to jump off a bridge just because their friends are doing it. But new research suggests changes in how teenagers view risks and rewards around their peers are not only a critical part of their development, but may also provide a key to motivating them.From the DARE anti-drug program to abstinence-only curricula, education has been full of high-profile attempts to curtail risky behavior that have met with mixed success at best. The emerging evidence suggests, however, that changing teenagers’ behavior demands accounting for their social circles, not just asking them to stand up to their peers.In an ongoing series of studies, Temple University researchers Laurence Steinberg and Jason M. Chein and their colleagues have found that teenagers take more risks and are more sensitive to potential rewards when they think peers are watching them—even if they consciously believe they aren’t affected by peer pressure.Read the whole story: Education Week More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Daniel Levitin: “The Organized Mind”

first_imgThe Diane Rehm Show: Texts, emails, cellphone messages, tweets, news alerts, apps and fit bits. We are expected to process much more information than ever before. It is no surprise that the average American reports feeling worn out by the effort to keep up with everything. In a new book, the best-selling neuroscientist Daniel Levitin says new research on memory and attention can help us learn how to navigate this tremendous amount of data each day. He argues that with a little effort, we can regain a sense of mastery in how we organize our lives in the age of information overload.Read the whole story: The Diane Rehm Show More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Allow These Two Olympic Runners to Demonstrate the Motivational Powers of Belonging to a Team

first_imgNew York Magazine:Over the long weekend, NBC aired what is essentially the Super Bowl of American running: the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Distance running is typically thought of as an individual sport, but the race also happened to inadvertently demonstrate a concept that’s recently been explored in the scientific literature — the incredible psychological power of feeling like part of a team.…Cragg finished first, and Flanagan held on to third, securing her own ticket to Rio in August. Some have speculated that if it weren’t for Cragg’s encouragement, Flanagan may have fallen behind or dropped out entirely. It was a memorable example of the motivational power that comes from having a teammate, something organizational psychologists have recently begun to explore, with some surprising results. Recently, for example, five experiments conducted by Stanford University psychologists showed that there is a weird power in simply feeling as if you are part of a team, even if you are in fact working on your own.Read the whole story: New York Magazine More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more